Spate of iPhone Overheating Reports Roast Apple

Sales of Apple's iPhone 3GS aren't the only thing hot about the device: Reports of overheating issues on the new version of the smartphone caused Apple to release an advisory on how to keep your iPhone cool.

While the debut of the iPhone 3GS, the latest edition of Apple's sleek, popular smartphone, has been a runaway success (sales after three days on the market bested 1 million models sold), Apple acknowledged the devices may have an issue when it comes to overheating.

In response to numerous consumer reports that its iPhones were overheating, Apple has posted an advisory on its support site where users can learn about the operating temperatures and temperature management of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

"Operate iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a place where the temperature is between 32?? to 95?? Fahrenheit. Low- or high-temperature conditions might temporarily shorten battery life or cause the device to temporarily stop working properly," the post explains. "Store the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS in a place where the temperature is between -4?? to 113?? Fahrenheit. Don't leave the device in your car, because temperatures in parked cars can exceed this range."

Apple noted if the interior temperature of the device exceeds normal operating temperatures, users may experience these signs as it attempts to regulate its temperature, including stop charging, a dim display and a weak cellular signal. Users may also recognize the iPhone is overheating if they see a temperature warning screen, which appears with the message "iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it."

The company noted when this message appears, the device may still be able to make emergency calls. If the message appears, users should turn the device off, move it to a cooler environment and allow it to cool before resuming use, Apple said. The company recommends avoiding leaving the device in hot conditions or direct sunlight for long periods of time, or using applications like GPS tracking or listening to music while in direct sunlight.

The reports of overheating iPhones (and the resulting advisory) come on the heels of a Consumer Reports smartphone ratings guide, which saw the iPhone 3GS topping the competition. While Palm's latest entry into the competitive smartphone market, the Pre, was close behind in the ranking, Apple maintained its competitive edge.

"The phones vary significantly in how they achieve their high scores," wrote Paul Reynolds on the Consumer Reports blog. "The iPhone 3GS edged out high-scoring competitors such as the Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm thanks to a superior display, reinforced by top-notch multimedia, navigation, Web browsing and battery life."

However, Reynolds also noted the Pre, the BlackBerry Storm and other BlackBerry models bested the iPhone in messaging, and the Pre, with its new deck-of-cards handling of multiple applications, is a superior multitasker. In rating smartphones this year, Reynolds said the magazine added new categories for ranking, including display and ease of navigation. "The iPhone 3G and some other older phones have moved up due to these changes," he wrote. "While others, including the Samsung Blackjack II and BlackBerry Pearl Flip, have dropped in their ranking."